When you purchase gold, you need to understand what you are actually purchasing. When you purchase jewelry, you will see terms such as "solid gold," "gold filled," and "gold plated." These three terms mean three different things, and it is important to understand what you are getting when you purchase jewelry.
#1 Solid Gold
As far as long-term value, solid gold is the way to go. Something that is solid gold is made entirely out of gold, through and through. For example, if you were to "cut" open a solid gold ring, you would see the entire ring was made out of gold. A piece of solid gold jewelry is only made out of gold, not any other metals.
Solid gold is extremely valuable. Solid gold can hold its value for generations, so if you are wanting to purchase a piece of jewelry that you can pass on as an heirloom in the future, solid gold is the way to go. Due to its long-term value, solid gold can be expensive. Solid gold is measured in karats, with 24 karats being the highest mark.
#2 Gold Filled
Gold filled is different than solid gold. An item that is gold filled is actually a combination of metals. A base metal is used for the piece, and then gold is bonded to the base metal, giving the appearance on the outside. The gold is bonded to the base metal using both heat and pressure. Gold-filled jewelry is more durable than gold-plated jewelry but not as durable as solid gold jewelry. Gold-filled jewelry falls about right in the middle cost-wise of the three primary types of gold jewelry.
#3 Gold Plated
Gold-plated jewelry is also not made of solid gold. A base metal, which is usually silver, is then covered with a really thin layer of gold. The gold is attached to the base metal using an electrically charged process.
Gold-plated jewelry does not last that long. If you were a piece of gold-plated jewelry on a regular basis, it may last a year. The bonding process between the gold and the base metal is not nearly as sturdy as it is with gold-filled jewelry.
If you want to purchase jewelry that will last for a generation, purchase solid gold jewelry. If you want to purchase jewelry that may get you through a decade, purchase gold-filled jewelry. If you want to purchase gold jewelry to wear and get a year or so of use out of, purchase gold-plated jewelry. The higher the quality, the more the gold jewelry will cost you.
For more information, get in touch with a company such as Morningstar's Jewelers & Pawnbrokers.